Communal Relationships and Parental Rights: What is Wrong with Child Removal?Janna Thompson (La Trobe University)
SS 324 (Social Sciences Building, Level 3, Room 324)
La Trobe University Plenty Road & Kingsbury Drive
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3086
The harm done to indigenous children as the result of the child removal policies of Australian and Canadian governments has been well documented. But some removed children were well treated in institutions and foster homes and enjoyed opportunities that they would have lacked if they had been raised in indigenous communities. Some were later glad that they had been removed. Suppose that good treatment and good outcomes had been the rule rather than the exception. What then would be wrong with the removal of children from indigenous parents and communities? Liberal philosophers are not well equipped to answer a question that requires understanding children not just as immature individuals who need care but as members of a family, a kinship group and a community. This paper is an attempt to understand the significance of these social relationships in answering questions about the entitlements of children and the rights of parents and their communities.
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